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Put a plan together
In a time of confusion, bring clarity to your staff and guests by taking the time to produce a plan to cover how your ‘business as usual’ will look over the coming weeks. This plan should include everything from a reassessment of cleaning products and routines, your cancellation and payment policies, health and safety assessments and how you are planning on managing difficult scenarios, i.e., if a guest needs to isolate themselves in your hotel. Having these procedures in place, along with clear communication with your staff will ensure that the next few weeks run as smoothly as possible.

Be smart about your rate management
When faced with the prospect of a quiet couple of months it can be tempting to heavily reduce your rates in an attempt to attract more bookings. However, remember that in these circumstances cheap rooms won’t always equal a pick-up in demand. You should also consider the long-term impact discounted rates can have, even under these circumstances for your hotel and factor in the recovery period afterwards. However, providing you’ve considered the above points, it’s worth reviewing and managing your rate strategy as the current situation unfolds. One solution could be setting up occupancy-based pricing or even a ‘group-rate’ plan if you have multiple properties. Alternatively, instead of discounting room prices, think of ways you could add value to your customers. Perhaps include a late check-out or a complimentary bottle of wine in the room to tempt bookers.

Look after your existing customer base
It goes without saying that this is always important, but especially in times like these. Consider reaching out to your previous guests and thank them for their custom; be that a one-off visit or a regular occurrence. Consider sending them an attractive offer (as mentioned above) or remind them that they can still purchase a voucher for a later date – like a Christmas break. Taking care of your existing customer base will not only serve you well during the coming months but is an excellent practise to maintain moving forward.

Staycation, staycation, staycation
Despite the uncertainty, the domestic market is still travelling and the demand is there. Border restrictions and wider flight disruptions mean many holiday’s abroad have been cancelled and guests will likely be looking for local alternatives. Tweak your marketing messaging to suit this – particularly across your social platforms. Remind the market that your hotel is taking every precaution and that whilst it is safe to travel, they can still enjoy themselves. Consider leaning on the local community and urging them to support local during this difficult time. You may find that although people are unwilling to stay right now, they’d be happy to purchase vouchers for a later date and show support.

Ultimately, once you have your short-term management strategies in place, it allows you to keep your eye on the long-term. Though it is an unsettling time for many businesses right now, we are beginning to see China’s hotel economy recover day after day, which gives us hope that within a few months we will all be back to ‘business as usual’.

Check out our High Level Hub for more guidance and support on COVID-19